Opioid epidemic compels grandparents to care for kids

The opioid epidemic has been as bad in Pennsylvania as anywhere else in the United States. According to NBC News, one of the problems not discussed often enough is the fate of the children addicts leave behind. Due largely in part to the growing opioid crisis, 30,000 more children entered foster care in 2015 compared to 2012. Grandparents have also risen to the challenge of raising children when they should be preparing for or enjoying retirement.

Grandparents are struggling to cover the cost of raising children on their own. Many do not qualify for support at work regarding legal and adoption fees because they are related to the child. Others may fail to qualify for social security benefits because they are not the legal guardians or because of the value of their retirement nest egg. This has compelled many grandparents to put off retirement. Some are not sure if they will ever have the means to recover financially so late in life.

Recognizing the need for support, the Pennsylvania governor stepped up to provide support to grandparents who are taking care of children. According to the state website of Governor Tom Wolf, the Grandfamilies Bills provides support in two forms. Act 88 of 2018 grants temporary guardianship in 90-day periods, so grandparents can enroll children in school and make other key decisions on their behalf. Act 89 of 2018 provides informational resources to help grandparents navigate the legal complexities of becoming legal caregivers.

By finding real solutions to the epidemic crisis in America, grandparents may return to retirement and enjoy their final years in quiet repose. Until then, more grandparents may continue to forego retirement to keep their grandchildren out of foster care.